I almost didn't go to graduation on Wednesday night. I had meetings for work scheduled Tuesday and Wednesday that required me leaving the house in the morning earlier than normal. By Wednesday afternoon I was feeling detached from my babies and I was aching to go home and snuggle with them. But I had already arranged to attend graduation that night to watch some of my former students receive their diplomas. I was feeling overwhelmed with mom guilt at the thought of leaving my girls again. I tried to justify skipping it, thinking maybe my former students wouldn't notice if I didn't show. Besides, my husband was home sick, with pink eye too, and I couldn't very well leave him with two babies, could I?
In the end I left the husband with strict instructions on hand washing and I got myself downtown in time for graduation. I was only there a few minutes before running into one of my former students in the bathroom and it was just moments until I was fighting back tears. I needed to be there.
Just a few years ago they were bouncy freshman who brightened my classroom with joy and enthusiasm. They, like all of us, thought that in 2011 they would be graduates of Loretto High School. Two years ago I watched them as they were forced to choose new schools and new paths. As I watched the sea of young women in white caps last night, I wondered what they were thinking. I wondered if they related to everything the speakers talked about, or if they were thinking of how their experience was different from the rest.
As I watched the young women I used to know sit before me, I realized it was okay that I left my babies at home last night. Because the "Loretto girls" are my family too. I may be the weird old aunt they don't want to talk about, but still I am part of their past and they are part of mine. They are a part of my life that I am immensely proud of, a part of my life that has forever changed how I look at young women, and a part of my life that I will always miss. As I watched the Loretto women receive their diplomas I remembered that I always envisioned a family full of boys; I got twin girls. Sometimes I think God knows exactly what we need.
Loretto, I ache for you. Loretto women, I hold you always close to my heart. Red Robots, Loretto Class of 2011, I wish you congratulations. Thank you for allowing me to be part of your lives.
(AND YES, YOUR LETTERS ARE COMING SOON!)